Subha Xavier

Associate Professor & Director of Graduate Studies


Office: North Callaway Center N402B

Phone: 404-727-4574



Subha Xavier, Associate Professor (Ph.D. in French Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison) Migration and Diaspora Studies, Francophone African, Canadian and Caribbean Literature and Film, Postcolonial and Literary Theory. Core faculty at the Institute of African Studies and the Global and Postcolonial Studies Program. Associated faculty in Film and Media Studies.

Professor Xavier’s first book, The Migrant Text: Making and Marketing a Global French Literature (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2016) brings together a corpus of recent novels by immigrants to France and Quebec, suggesting that these diverse works extend beyond familiar labels such as francophone and postcolonial to forge a new mode of writing that deserves recognition on its own terms. Xavier shows how both external and internal factors shape migrant production in contemporary French literature, arguing that these texts should be situated precisely at the intersection of the financial mandates of literary production and the textual strategies the writer deploys to resist—but also profit from—these conditions.

She is currently working on a second book, China and France in Love: Creativity and Failure in Contemporary Sino-French Literature, which examines a long history of literary interplay between China and France in order to read recent cultural production by the Chinese diaspora as an extension and reversal of an age-old seduction with otherness.

Xavier is also working on a third project entitled Wretched of the Sea: Migrant Boat Narratives that considers refugee crossings from an international perspective, reexamining the legacy of slave and war narratives in the context of present-day mass migrations and climate change.

Recent publications:

“Wretched of the Sea: Boat People and Narratives of Displacement,” Contemporary Fiction in French, ed. Anna-Louise Milne and Russell Williams, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming October 2019.

“À la lisière de la langue: l’Art pictural de Shan Sa,” in Penser le roman francophone contemporain, ed. Lise Gauvin, Romuald Fonkua and Florian Alix, Presses Universitaires de Paris-Sorbonne, forthcoming December 2019.

 “The Global Afterlife: Sino-French Literature and the Politics of Translation,” French Cultural Studies 30.2 (May 2019): 153-165.

 “Alain Mabanckou’s Migrant Cosmopolitanism” Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture 9.2 (October 2018): 155-67.

Book Xavier